NETL-led research is offering groundbreaking insight into the mysteries of methane hydrate formation and behavior by enabling pore-scale observation in natural conditions for the first time ever. The impactful data gleaned from this research will inform future efforts to produce clean, affordable and reliable energy from these abundant natural gas resources. Methane hydrate is a cage-like lattice of ice that forms underwater at low-temperature, high-pressure conditions, trapping molecules of methane — the chief constituent of natural gas — inside. The amount of carbon stored in gas hydrate deposits worldwide is comparable to the volume stored in all conventional fossil fuels combined, offering promising possibilities to meet global energy needs. Yet, researchers have previously only speculated as to how methane hydrates form in nature due to inadequate methods of scientific investigation.